Issue 140 November - December 2020

Please note: The issue content below is just a summary of the articles in the printed magazine.
The articles are not available on-line. Please refer to the printed magazine for the complete article.
Hamer launches new lighting offer with SAL

One of New Zealand’s longest-serving electrical distribution businesses, Hamer, has teamed up with Sunny Lighting (SAL), a leading supplier of LED lighting in Australia, to offer a full range of residential, commercial and industrial lighting products for projects nationwide.

“This is an important step in Hamer’s expansion and lays the foundation for the business to become a major lighting supplier to the electrical wholesale market,” says Hamer’s national sales manager Steve Snoad.

“It also positions Hamer well in the higher-end specification market, with depth and breadth of the SAL range particularly suiting the commercial sector.”

To support the launch, Hamer has just appointed the first of many business development managers to promote the SAL lighting offer to specifiers, electrical wholesalers and design-build electrical contractors.

Snoad says the Hamer business was established in 1938 and has built a solid reputation as an importer of quality tools and electrical products from around the world.

“Delivering certainty to our customers by supplying the industry’s best brands will always be our mission, and our extensive range of products will continue to expand.”

Is the inspection of prescribed electrical work remotely possible?

The role of electrical inspectors and how inspections are to be carried out has changed a lot this century and the significance of some of those changes is still coming as a surprise to electrical workers and regulators alike.

One of the hardest type of changes to detect is where a work requirement in the 1997 or previous regulations is not carried forward into new regulations as assumed. And what is impossible to detect is where assumptions are made on the law based on common sense or common practice but are not validated by the wording of the new regulations.

One such regulated work activity is electrical inspection where a better understanding of the changes in the 2010 Electricity Regulations could change the perception of inspections and the law that mandates them.

While ElectroLink has addressed many of these changes over the years, dealing with the latest flu-like virus has raised a further issue.

On Page 6 of this issue, electrical inspector Colin Murphy addresses the situation where overseas customers of New Zealand exporters will no longer accept product from a site where anyone is found to have Covid 19.

If, as a result of this commercial pressure, New Zealand manufacturers and food processors are now reluctant to allow people on site who are not normally there, Murphy raises the question as to how manufacturers can allow electrical inspections of prescribed electrical work to be carried out within this business constraint.

He asks if inspectors can inspect remotely with the assistance of a person on site working under their supervision. He has advised ElectroLink that he is not happy with the responses to questions he put to the EWRB and WorkSafe on this issue and asks if there is a lawful solution, given the available live video technology.

Are robots really taking over?

There has been a lot of debate lately about the impact robots will have on future employment prospects. Much of the conversation centres on the manufacturing sector, where robots are believed to have the most impact, and could possibly lead to significant job losses.

While it is true that the interest in robots has risen sharply in recent years, it would seem the blanket statements made by some are simplistic, and in some cases even quite extreme. So what is the current state of industrial robots? What can they really do and how safe are our jobs both now and in the future?

It must be stressed from the outset that the scope of robot usage is very wide, and applications vary enormously. It is also a highly dynamic field, where technology is changing rapidly. We must therefore limit ourselves to only making general observations.

How to light a swimming pool

wimming pools range in size from the backyard spa pool to competition-level Olympic pools. What should you look for in a lighting scheme? What sort of luminaires are suitable? And how do you avoid electrocuting your pool users?

Competition pools

While swimming races can be staged in the most of humble backyard pools, for formal competition swimming there is a set of standards covering the physical environment including pool dimensions, lane marking, water temperature and lighting.

Swimmers need enough light to clearly see the end of the pool, and backstroke competitors need to see the flagged turn indicators without overhead glare from luminaires.

More importantly there are officials who need to be able to see the swimmers’ actions without interference from reflections off the water surface or glare from light sources. For example, there are inspectors of turns who check swimmers’ turns and relay exchanges; their work is often backed up by overhead video that must also be unimpeded by reflection.

There will also be a judge of stroke who needs a clear view across the pool to check the swimmers’ actions. There may be manual timekeepers for each lane. These officials need low-glare lighting with high light levels.

The stress point: exterior luminaire mountings

Recently contractors arrived at a sports ground to remove the floodlights. They were there to replace the old fittings with a newer model and the existing floodlights were to be re-used to light a smaller sports ground.

They found there was so much corrosion in the floodlight mounting points that the bolts could not be removed except by cutting off the heads and drilling out the bolts. The luminaire bodies had weakened and crystalised so badly they could not be re-installed and they were not even suitable for recycling as scrap metal.

Thankfully, this problem is not as common as it used to be with suppliers and installers having learned that luminaire mountings are vital for performance, maintenance, longevity and safety. A luminaire that is hanging by its cable is no longer electrically safe, so how does the mounting become a failure point?

What it comes down to is the metal the mountings are made from. Some grades of aluminium used in luminaire bodies are not suitable for New Zealand’s coastal environment. If the copper content of the alloy is too high, corrosion can happen very quickly, weakening the mountings.